The Women’s Development Cell (WDC) of Shivaji College, in its efforts to generate awareness about gender equality, organized a workshop entitled ‘Gender and Media: From Margins to Mainstream ‘ on September 19, 2017, in collaboration with Breakthrough and Alliance India. 
Ms. Simran Sheikh representing  Alliance India, a not-for-profit Indian organisation with expertise in a range of disciplines including HIV, sexual & reproductive health, human rights, resource mobilisation, and advocacy to name a few, enlightened the students with her words. She engrossed the audience in her interactive session, starting with a question – “Who am I?”
Pointing towards the society and their acceptance of the ‘other gender’, she said that they can call her ‘A woman with a Man’s voice’, and also said, “Just because I am wearing a sari does not mean I am a woman.” She continued with the idea that in their community, their identity is expressed by their claps or plating. “Meri pehchan tali hai,” she said. She pondered over the idea of this identity in a society. She also elaborated how culture,  traditions, family, and neighbours bind us in some specific roles, admitting “although it’s  not bad to follow them,” their imposition certainly becomes a problem. She reinforced the fact that one must not be judgmental on seeing another person’s appearance. Her community, she believes, is “visible yet invisible”. In the end, she concluded with a trio vision of “Inclusion, Humanity, and Justice”.
The other guests, Mr. Pavel Sagolsem and Ms. Priyanka Sinha from Breakthrough, enlightened the students about the role of media in gender discrimination in India. They explained how a non-profit organisation challenges the status quo and takes bold action for the dignity, equality, and justice of all. The interactive session also included a bunch of videos explaining the audience how advertisements can bring a change in the outlook of the society towards many orthodox norms. Ring the bell, Titan Raga, and many other ad campaigns which have been seen on television over the years, were shown. In this session, the speakers also took inputs from the audience about their thoughts on these videos, and how they felt about the ads. Few volunteers from the audience weredivided into groups and were asked to prepare an advertisement on gender equality. The volunteers took up the task with great enthusiasm and witnessed great work from young creative minds. The speakers ended their session with a hope thatwould help the young minds change to a path of equality and justice to all.
The interactive session brought a change in the vision of the students,inclining them to mull over the mainstream norms.
Image credits: Team WDC, Shivaji College
Team WDC, Shivaji College